'The Atheist's Bible: Diderot's 'Elements de physiologie' by Caroline Warman is the winner (jointly) of the R. Gapper Book Prize 2021 for best book in French Studies.

A Philosophy of Cover Songs

A Philosophy of Cover Songs P.D. Magnus
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-80064-422-9 £19.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-80064-423-6 £29.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-80064-424-3 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-80064-425-0 £5.99
azw3 ISBN: 978-1-80064-426-7 £5.99
xml ISBN: 978-1-80064-427-4 £0.00

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This short book is an engaging exploration of a range of issues raised by the phenomenon of musical covers. Magnusís discussion of numerous fascinating and well-chosen examples impressively complements his theorizing, which clearly demonstrates the philosophical richness of his topic.
Prof. Andrew Kania, Trinity University in San Antonio


Cover songs are a familiar feature of contemporary popular music. Musicians describe their own performances as covers, and audiences use the category to organize their listening and appreciation. However, until now philosophers have not had much to say about them. In A Philosophy of Cover Songs, P.D. Magnus demonstrates that philosophy provides a valuable toolbox for thinking about covers; in turn, the philosophy of cover songs illustrates some general points about philosophical method.

Lucidly written, the book is divided into three parts: how to think about covers, appreciating covers, and the metaphysics of covers and songs. Along the way, it explores a range of issues raised by covers, from the question of what precisely constitutes a cover, to the history and taxonomy of the category, the various relationships that hold between songs, performances, and tracks, and the appreciation and evaluation of covers.

This unique and engaging book will be of interest to those working in philosophy of art, philosophy of music, popular music studies, music history, and musicology, as well as to readers with a general interest in popular music, covers, and how we think about them.

Access the companion playlist here.


A Philosophy of Cover Songs
P.D. Magnus | April 2022
162pp. | 8 Colour Illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781800644229
ISBN Hardback: 9781800644236
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781800644243
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781800644250
ISBN Digital ebook (azw3): 9781800644267
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781800644274
ISBN Digital (HTML): 9781800646773
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0293
BIC: HPJ (Philosophy: metaphysics and ontology), HP (Philosophy), AV (Music), AVA (Theory of music and musicology), AVH (Individual composers and musicians, specific bands and groups); BISAC: SCI075000 (SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects), MUS020000 (MUSIC / History & Criticism), SOC026040 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Social Theory).


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Introduction Download
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1. What is a Cover? Download
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2. Kinds, Covers, and Kinds of Covers Download
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Interlude: Cover Bands Download
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3. Listening to Covers Download
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4. The Semiotic Angle Download
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Interlude: Torment and Interpolations Download
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5. Some Metaphysical Puzzles Download
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6. How a Song is Like Ducks Download
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Epilogue Download
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References Download
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